Norwest gold platform to expand

Following the recent spike in gold prices, Norwest Equity Partners portfolio company Aurafin, a gold jewellery maker, has received $140 million in financing from several banks.

Aurafin, a portfolio company of Norwest Equity Partners that produces gold jewellery, has received $140 million (€109 million) in financing.

The financing was led by Bank of America, Sovereign Bank and ABN AMRO. The new facility extends through 2009.

Aurafin was founded in 1982 by Michael Gusky, a jewellery industry veteran. The company is headquartered in Tamarac, Florida, and is one of the largest suppliers of 10 karat and 14 karat gold and gemstone jewellery. Its customers include all of the major retailers in the United States and more than 3,500 independent jewellery stores throughout North America.

In 1999 Gusky sold 50 percent of the company to Norwest for an undisclosed amount. In May 2006 he announced his plans to retire as CEO of the company but maintain a significant ownership position. Under the terms of the financing, Norwest, Gusky and David Meleski, who will take over the CEO position, have contributed an additional $10 million of capital to the company.

Over the past year gold prices have risen by over $200 per ounce.

“Clearly, the recent spike in gold prices has made our business model more capital intensive,” said Norwest partner Steven Farsht in a statement.

Founded in 1961, Minneapolis-based Norwest today has more than $3 billion in capital under management.